After The Match 


Liverpool-Watford 1-0 (0-0)     Tue Jan 11.        Carling Cup, (1.leg)
Goals: Cox (55 og)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Traore, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Hamann, Nunez, Garcia, Pongolle, Mellor
Subs: Baros (Mellor 52), Biscan (Hamann 71),
Warnock (Pongolle 78)
Not used: Harrison, Potter
Yellow: Chambers (76)
Red: None
Referee: Steve Dunn
Attendance: 35,739

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 7-3
Shots off target: 5-2
Fouls conceded: 12-9
Corners: 4-3
Yellow: 0-1





"I think
Watford deserve
a lot of credit..."

              Steven Gerrard

1201: Benitez warning for players
1201: Gerrard: Hornets fought hard
1101: Benitez disappointed with Reds
1101: Gerrard gives Liverpool League Cup edge

Benitez warning for players

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has warned his players they will have to be “strong to survive” in the Carling Cup as Watford can still grab a place in the final.

The Spanish boss saw enough of Ray Lewington’s battlers in the 1-0 semi-final first leg victory at Anfield to know the threat from the Championship side has not been snubbed out.

“They have already beaten Premiership teams on their own ground, so we know how difficult it will be there,” said Benitez.

“Just taking a one-goal lead there is not the best and if they play as they did at Anfield it will be a tough night for us.

“We will have to be very strong to survive.”

The former Valencia boss is gradually moulding Liverpool into the side he wants them to be but even a coach who was won two Spanish league titles admitted he is still learning, especially now he is in a country foreign to him.

“Watford started the game thinking about not conceding a lot of goals, but after they had seen that they were doing OK and we were not playing well, they felt able to try to score themselves and they made it very hard for us at times,” he said.

“I was very impressed with them. We know it is going to be difficult now (in the second leg) and I have discovered that such games are always difficult in England.

“If you only win by one goal and have to take that advantage into the second leg, you know you have to really concentrate in the second game or you can be punished.”

However, Benitez is confident Liverpool can reach a record 10th League Cup final.

“I am always optimistic but I do believe we can get through to the final,” he added.

Benitez was also boosted by the return from injury of Milan Baros.

The Czech striker came off the bench just after half-time and proved he was over the hamstring problem which had kept him out since Boxing Day by setting up the goal for Steven Gerrard.

“Bringing Milan Baros on made the difference,” explained Benitez.

“We needed something different and we know that he has pace and is a tremendous runner up front and he gave us another option with other choices in our play.”

Gerrard: Hornets fought hard

ITV Football

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitted his side were made to work hard for their narrow win over Watford in Tuesday's Carling Cup semi-final first leg.

Gerrard's second-half strike, deflected in by Neil Cox, gave the Barclays Premiership side a 1-0 lead to take to Vicarage Road for the second leg in a fortnight.

And the England midfielder was full of praise for the way the Coca-Cola Championship side played.

He told Sky Sports: "I think Watford deserve a lot of credit - they made it a battle and played very well.

"It's going to be a difficult second leg for sure - and hopefully the whole squad will realise what a tough game we've got down there."

Gerrard revealed: "At half-time the manager felt we under-estimated Watford a bit.

"He told us to pass the ball quicker and fight a bit more - but we've won well and we'll take some positives from it."

Benitez disappointed with Reds

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez admitted his side were not at their best during the 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final first leg win over Watford at Anfield.

Benitez said: "I was disappointed at half-time, we were losing the ball too easily but we improved. We had problems but in the end we controlled it.

"I am happy in the end, the win is the most important thing.

"We knew it would be a difficult game, they ran a lot, played well and with confidence and they were organised."

Benitez praised the contribution of striker Milan Baros, who came off the bench during the second half after a month sidelined with a hamstring problem.

He added: "He gives a different option for the team, he runs, he is quick, and it isimportant to have different possiblities in attack.

"We have lots of confidence in this game, we know it is important for us totry and do our best.

"We have the advantage, we can play well at home and away."

Gerrard gives Liverpool League Cup edge

BBC Sport Online

Steven Gerrard scored just after the interval to ensure Liverpool will take a lead into the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final with Watford.

Gerrard drove home via a deflection from Neil Cox after substitute Milan Baros' run and cross from the left.

The Reds were otherwise disappointing, Florent Sinama Pongolle volleying over and Gerrard quiet in the midfield.

Hameur Bouazza missed two great chances for the Hornets while Bryn Gunnarsson headed straight at keeper Jerzy Dudek.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez picked a near full-strength side to face the Hornets and they began strongly, with Paul Jones' goal under immediate pressure.

Gerrard and Luis Garcia blasted wide from long range before the Spaniard hit a volley from 25 yards that forced Jones to make a low diving stop.

Antonio Nunez then raced down the right and got to the byeline, his superb cross falling at the feet of Pongolle only for the Frenchman to volley over from six yards.

Watford were struggling to get a hold on the game in midfield with Gerrard dominating affairs, but a neat passing move 17 minutes in gave the Championship side two chances to take a shock lead.

First, a teasing cross from the right fell to Bouazza who sliced his effort wide and then Paul Devlin crossed for Gunnarsson to head straight at Dudek from seven yards.

The Hornets seemed to gain strength from their near misses and, as the Anfield crowd quietened, Ray Lewington's side began to have a greater influence on proceedings.

Gavin Mahon and Gunnarsson took control of the middle of the park from Gerrard and though Watford did not create any more clear-cut chances in the first half, they were by far the more assured of the two teams.

After the break the Reds seemed to step up a gear and both Neil Mellor and Gerrard tested Jones with low drives, before Mellor was taken off and replaced by the fit-again Baros.

Benitez's change paid immediate dividends as Baros scampered away down the left and after his cross was parried by Jones, Gerrard fired in a goalbound shot which Cox headed into the roof of the net.

Liverpool's main problem was Heidar Helguson's aerial threat and his nod back across goal from a free-kick was brilliantly intercepted by Jamie Carragher with Gunnarsson lurking dangerously.

The Icelander then sent Bouazza through with a fabulous flick, only for the 19-year-old to blaze his left-foot shot high over Dudek's crossbar.

Baros looked lively after a month spent in and out of action with a hamstring problem and he lashed a shot just past the post with Jones scrambling across his line.

With the clock ticking down Watford had a great chance to level the tie, but as Helguson burst through he was denied by a stunning last-ditch tackle from Djimi Traore.

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Thor Zakariassen ©